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Hal Steinbrenner: The Yankees current payroll is ‘not sustainable’

Yankees
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Hal Steinbrenner: The Yankees current payroll is ‘not sustainable’

Yankees fans’ dreams of keeping Juan Soto might have to go out the window. Owner Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t think the team’s payroll numbers can keep going at this rate.

Steinbrenner was blunt when talking to Dan Martin of the New York Post. “I’m gonna be honest,” “Steinbrenner said. “Payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially.”

The Yankees currently sit above MLB’s Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) threshold with a $305 million payroll, according to Spotrac. The threshold for the 2024 season is $237 million, putting the Yankees over $60 million above the line.

The Yankees aren’t the only team doing this. Steve Cohen is doing it with the Mets, although the team’s production is massively failing. The Dodgers are being smart when it comes to deferred contracts to Shohei Ohtani.

MLB knows how these big market teams work, and there’s a punishment for staying over the threshold. Teams must pay a 20% tax on all overages in their first year. It moves to 30% in their second consecutive year, and 50% in their third. An additional surcharge is also added on overages over $20 million and up.

The Yankees have gone over for three years in a row now, but the team could avoid punishment if it lowers next year’s payroll to $241 million, which will be the threshold for that year.

It also appears that Steinbrenner has finally learned that throwing money at players doesn’t always result in winning. He acknowledged that the team shouldn’t need the biggest payroll to get its first ring since 2009.

“I don’t believe I should have a $300-million payroll to win a championship,” Steinbrenner added.

Steinbrenner via Dan Martin of the New York Post.

Either way, the Yankees have their hands full going into this offseason. The team already has $202 million worth of contracts on the books for next year. The chance of Soto signing an “Ohtani level contract” with the Yankees is probably out of the question.

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